Republican Paul Thurmond did in fact win the District 41 Senate election against Democrat Paul Tinkler, but he had to wait almost 24 hours after the polls closed to be sure.
Sleep-deprived Charleston County election officials spent much of Wednesday continuing their work adding up 14,000 paper absentee ballots to get full, unofficial results.
Tinkler, who trailed by more than 4,000 votes after all the machine results were counted, didn’t wait until the complete tally Wednesday to call Thurmond’s office and pass along his congratulations.
Thurmond won by more than 5,000 votes out of 49,730 cast and a 56-44 percent margin, according to complete unofficial results.
Other election results also became clear Wednesday across the Lowcountry.
A computer glitch delayed Dorchester County’s election reports Tuesday night, but its absentee ballots were all counted by 2:40 a.m. Wednesday.
In House District 97, the late results were enough to lift incumbent Democrat Patsy Knight over Republican challenger Ed Carter by a 55-45 margin.
Meanwhile, voters in Dorchester District 2 supported the $179.9 million bond referendum to build and improve schools by a 3-2 margin, and a $7.5 million aquatic complex won by a 51-49 margin.
In the District 2 school board race, incumbents Barbara Crosby (21 percent) and Lisa Tupper (19 percent), and former Principal Sam Clark (17 percent) defeated four others seeking the three at-large seats.
Longtime board member Bo Blanton did not seek re-election. Other candidates (and their unofficial results) include: Harry Blake (14 percent), David DuBose (13 percent), Justin Farnsworth (12 percent), and Louis L. Smith (5 percent).
Charleston School Board
It’s still unclear which write-in candidate will prevail in the race for the Charleston County School Board’s downtown seat.
Joe Debney, director of the county’s Board of Elections and Voter Registration, said he expects to have that result before the board meets at 10 a.m. Friday to certify the results.
No candidate was listed on the ballot for that spot, though five launched write-in campaigns. Tallying those electronic votes can be complicated because of misspelled names, and absentee paper ballots must be counted manually, he said.
The downtown seat had about 9,500 write-in votes on election day.
Also, election officials still are tabulating write-in candidates for 14 open seats on constituent school boards. “We’re working around the clock to get it done,” Debney said.
Schuyler Kropf, Brenda Rindge and Diette Courrege Casey contributed to this report.